Fueling growth: Proven strategies for agency lead generation

Key takeaways

  • Effective agency growth hinges on acquiring high-quality leads, ensuring that sales efforts are targeted towards prospects with the highest conversion potential.
  • Lead generation strategies for marketing agencies include target audience identification, buyer's journey understanding, and content creation.
  • Best practices for agency lead generation include personalized communication, A/B testing, and continuous monitoring and analysis to optimize lead generation efforts for sustained agency growth.

A powerful sales process that generates record-crushing numbers for your agency at the end of the year begins with an all-important input: high-quality leads. You can have a well-oiled sales process in place, but if you don’t have the right audience, your efforts will be wasted. Acing your marketing agency lead generation process means your sales team won’t squander their valuable time and resources on prospects that aren’t likely to convert, while qualified, high-value clients pass them by.

Download our ready-to-use email templates to reengage old leads for free and scale your sales process today!

No matter how long you’ve been in the game, it’s always a good time to brush up on your lead-generation strategy. In this blog post, we’ll go over what the process of lead generation for marketing agencies looks like, where to look for premium leads and tools at your disposal to make lead generation faster and easier. Then, we’ll dig into actionable marketing agency lead-generation strategies for your team and best practices to maximize your results.

What does lead generation for agencies look like? 

Lead generation is the process by which your agency prospects for, identifies, and validates potential clients, ensuring that your sales efforts are focused on the prospects most likely to drive meaningful business growth. 

There are two overarching questions to ask yourself when it comes to gaining leads for your marketing agency: 

  1. Who do I want to talk to? The first helps you identify your target audience. This is the pool from which you’ll draw your marketing agency leads.
  2. What do I want to say to them? The second question helps you understand and map out your ideal buyer’s journey, enabling you to create effective sales and marketing content that boost lead generation for your marketing agency. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these phases of the marketing agency lead generation process.

Identify your target marketing agency audience

Clearly defining your agency’s target audience already puts you ahead of many competitors by enabling you to refine and tailor your sales efforts. An all too common mistake is defining the target audience too broadly, making it difficult to effectively speak to the needs of any specific group of prospective leads.

For example, let’s say you’re a digital agency startup in a mid-sized city, and you define your target market as “small local businesses.” This pool might include a 50-employee development company, a 10-employee bakery, and a one-woman-show jewelry brand. While these businesses may all benefit from digital marketing services broadly, their problems and needs likely differ so widely that creating an effective marketing agency lead generation strategy that speaks to all three of them will be exceedingly difficult.

Instead, imagine the same agency pivoting its strategy to focus exclusively on family-owned restaurants in their mid-sized city. By more narrowly defining the target audience, the agency can now immerse itself in understanding—and solving—the unique challenges faced by these local businesses. By using a white-label digital marketing platform, you can tailor a wide portfolio of solutions to your target audience.

Going deeper: Ideal customer profiles

Ideal customer profiles are fictionalized but representative personas. If you had it your way, each of your marketing agency leads would look like these profiles. Taking the time to create these helps your team gain a robust understanding of your target audience, making it easier to craft a lead generation process, marketing materials, and sales process that speaks to businesses most closely resembling the ideal.

Ideal customer profiles can include the following:

  • Industry
  • Size
  • Revenue
  • Location
  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Budget for marketing services
  • Values
  • Other industry-specific parameters

Understand the buyer’s journey and craft content for each stage

Regardless of your niche, your prospective customers move through the same broad buyer’s journey. In sales, this is represented in 3 stages: 

  • Awareness stage: The prospect has identified a problem for which they don’t have a current solution.
  • Consideration stage: The prospect is gathering information and potential fixes for their problem.
  • Decision stage: The decision-maker chooses and buys a solution.

Familiarize yourself with these stages, which are also frequently represented as the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel. These stages can help you capture (and close) more B2B marketing agency leads by creating a digital marketing strategy that addresses each stage.

Where to find digital marketing leads

There’s no shortage of creative ways to find marketing agency leads, both online and IRL. Once you have your ideal customer clearly defined and you’ve created content based on their unique needs for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re prepared to go get in front of those leads. 

Online platforms 

No matter who your ideal customer is, chances are they have some sort of online presence. LinkedIn remains the king of online professional networking platforms, making it an excellent place to start lead generation for digital marketing agencies. But it’s not your only option.

Good old-fashioned Google Search remains a powerful way to find businesses in your niche: just search for terms related to the types of businesses you want to work with and look at which Google Business Profiles come up. Then, you can click through the similar businesses recommended by Google to further beef up your prospect list. 

Online directories like Yelp and Yellow Pages can also be great platforms for lead generation for marketing agencies.

Social media

Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and other social media platforms are fertile ground for marketing agency leads. While cold-calling may have required picking up a phone or writing a formal email in the past, reaching out through these more informal channels is increasingly normalized. Expectations may vary between industries, but making that initial connection through social media can be the first step to a profitable partnership.

Industry-specific forums

Your target audience may participate in industry-specific forums, both online and offline. Identify these and use them as a source of marketing agency lead generation.

Going back to our example of an agency targeting local family-owned restaurants, an upcoming restaurant supply trade show could be the perfect place to connect with high-quality leads.

Collaboration with influencers and industry experts

Key figures in your digital marketing niche can generate awareness of your agency and get your solutions in front of an audience of targeted leads. First, identify thought leaders and influencers in your space. Then, brainstorm ways your agency might collaborate with them, such as webinars or guest blogs.

Tools you'll need to find digital marketing leads

In the classic sales film Glengarry Glen Ross, scoring the best leads comes down to stealing a stack of index cards from Alec Baldwin. Luckily, lead generation for marketing agencies today is more sophisticated. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems

You need a place to store and manage all those leads you generate through online platforms, social media, industry-specific events, and beyond. The healthier your pipeline is, the more important it becomes to have a robust system to manage all that information. That’s where CRM software comes into play. 

Look for a solution that helps your team keep leads in one place, track their stage in the sales pipeline, log touchpoints, and maintain timely follow-ups. It’s frighteningly easy to burn a lead just by failing to follow up, and the right CRM will help keep you on track.

Email marketing tools

Moving leads for marketing agencies along the pipeline from the awareness stage to the decision stage requires regular, relevant communications, and email marketing tools help you do just that.

Maximize the effectiveness of your email marketing tool by making ample use of segmentation to ensure your marketing agency leads receive appropriate, effective content.

Analytics and tracking tools

Analytics tools help your team identify if your lead-generation efforts are paying off. Do leads from one source seem to convert at a higher rate? You might want to beef up your prospecting through that source.

Lead generation strategies for rapid agency growth

To supercharge your agency growth, you need strategies that deliver high-quality leads for marketing agencies at scale. That’s exactly what these techniques do, helping you generate leads on autopilot.

Content marketing and blogging

Content marketing is a powerful vehicle for lead generation for marketing agencies when deployed correctly. The key to putting this technique to work for your agency is referring back to your North Star: your ideal customer profile. 

The content you publish should be tailor-made to suit that customer’s needs, questions, and pain points. The more regularly you publish, the more you’ll see qualified leads reaching out to you instead of the other way around.

Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques

An effective SEO strategy ensures that your website and content are easily discoverable through Google by showing up at the top of relevant search engine results pages (SERPs). This includes having a keyword strategy, on-page optimization of headings, meta tags, and other content, an attractive and intuitive user experience (UX), and regular monitoring to refine your strategy. The right website builder will make it easy to create an SEO-ready website for your agency.

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns

Unlike SEO efforts, PPC advertising can deliver nearly instantaneous leads for marketing agencies, putting your business in front of your target audience as soon as you hit publish on your ad campaign. Using it in conjunction with SEO helps to supercharge lead generation for digital marketing agencies by maximizing the number of potential clients who are reached.

Webinars and online events

Webinars and online events are especially effective when it comes to establishing your agency as a valuable source of expertise and experience in your niche. They put a human face to your business, helping your leads see the real people behind the solutions, and fostering a sense of trust that is more difficult to establish through, say, a blog post. 

Referral programs and customer testimonials

Happy customers make the best evangelists for your business because they’ve experienced the benefits of working with you first-hand. Tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing at scale by showcasing testimonials and encouraging customers to spread the word by rewarding them through a referral program.

Lead generation best practices for agencies

Ensure more of your digital agency leads become satisfied, paying clients by implementing these best practices throughout your lead generation efforts.

  • Ace your landing pages: The lead magnets and techniques discussed above will get leads for marketing agencies on your website. Then, it’s the job of your landing page to do the heavy lifting with a strong design and clear call-to-action.
  • Personalize your communications: Once you’ve captured a lead, use audience segmentation tools to make your communications as personalized as you can.
  • Use A/B testing: Implement A/B testing for everything from your lead magnets to your landing pages to your email marketing communications to support continuous improvement.
  • Monitor and analyze your results: Make sure you’re not spinning your wheels on ineffective strategies by closely tracking and analyzing your lead gen metrics. These include conversion rates, click-through rates (CTR), cost per lead (CPL), and cost per acquisition (CPA). 


The quality of lead generation for your marketing agency directly impacts the value of the prospects populating your sales funnel.

To maximize your agency profits, you need a refined, effective lead-generation strategy. This starts with a clear target audience and messaging that directly speaks to their needs. Cast your net widely and creatively by using online platforms, social media channels, collaborations, and industry-specific forums to find leads. Bring trust and value to your prospects with strategic content marketing, SEO, PPC, and other techniques that put your agency front and center. Finally, don’t forget to track your efforts and continually improve your strategy. 

Start putting these strategies to work, and watch your sales funnel fill up.

Have you tried any of these approaches to finding qualified leads? We’d love to hear about your experiences and insights, so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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